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Archive for June, 2008

Sign of the Times......

June 27th, 2008 at 07:06 pm

I should have seen it coming. I just got a call from my water delivery service. Not so great news. Since I grew up on a deep springlike well system, I taste tested some water delivery here and found a well-known, reputable one that had great spring water. The delivery regular drinking water is local water redone. The spring was trucked in from another state if I recall right. At any rate, we've had it for years. Our city's water often tastes awful. Messes with my stomach. Turns my clothes dingy. Leaves things less than sparkly. I found that the kids drank a lot more water with the service. Allergies eased up. Colds and other stuff were fewer. They drank water. The water company in all these years has never raised its rates for my water. It added a fuel surcharge a year or so ago to compensate, but my water has never changed. And, the surcharge was less than $2.00 per month. Doable.

Now, no spring water. I guess it got too costly to truck and bottle. I guess not enough of us wanted to pay for it. Who knows. I didn't really like the taste of the regular water compared to the spring. I didn't like the idea of paying for a reprocessed bottle of the next city's water. Of course, it probably doesn't have all the junk in it. Phooey. What to do now. I am receiving a free delivery of the regular water to taste test again. I am wondering if the cost will be changed. I am wondering if I should just get a filtering system for the household. I just don't know. Guess it will depend on how it tastes. There are other companies in the area, but I'll have to do some work to find out what to get and how much it would be. Sigh. My favorite things disappear quite often. How many times do you have something you love disappear from the store shelves? Happens to me all the time.

I am writing and closing a store account today. Don't know why I got the card. Don't use it. Good grief. It's a no brainer. I have another one on tap to go.

I go pick up Older Dog today from her surgery. Between both her surgeries in the last month, plus tests, and now shots for the Little Dog, my pet emergency fund has been decimated and then some. This fund will be hard to refill. Sigh. We've all been hit by the medical bug this year, including the pets.....

Forget-Me-Not......

June 26th, 2008 at 01:55 pm

I hate it when I get to the store and find that I've forgotten my coupon or coupons. Or, that I've forgotten my list. I often start to head out and then realize that I've forgotten my bottle of water (it's so hot here) to take with me or maybe go to the bathroom first. Even my cell phone off my desk like I did yesterday. Sometimes, I go back in. And then, I leave the list somewhere. I've started putting the list into my pocket. Or, in the purse right after I realize that the list is on the desk. I made a plan the other day, had my list, and forgot the coupons. I had thought of them, then my mind wandered and the rest of the thought that went something like "put them into purse NOW" registered but didn't make it into action. I limited my purchases so that I didn't lose so much money. And, then there are the times I pick up the list or coupons going out the door and....forget them in the car. I used to leave them in the car on purpose, but when Hubby goes with me, I have to remember to get them from my car because he'll want to drive his. It's easier for him to get in and out of since his surgery. Sometimes, I have the list and the coupons, but forget something on the list and it is in my hand. Sheesh!

I started making notes to myself and sticking them on the computer monitor. But, I move them or get used to them and don't see them. I stick them to the keyboard, but ignore them eventually. I stick them to the calendar or organizer. That helps if I think to look at them more often. Usually, I look at them the first of the week and see what's coming up. I stick them to the glass on my desk. Sometimes, those end up sticking to my sleeves instead. I need a better note system. Or a better coupon system. Or both. And, don't get me started on trying to remember names.....

On the decluttering note, I've gotten rid of a drawer full of loose recipes. I'll never go through and organize those. I have the ones that are recipes from relatives already safely stashed, so these aren't important. They were just "someday" recipes. I reorganized some files and got rid of some more things. I've been working a bit in the hobby stuff. I've found stuff that I didn't know I had and stuff that needs to move on. I found a bag in the garage that had water damage from Rita. It had costume stuff from when DD and class had to do a skit based on Gilligan's Island. I kept the skipper's hat for the dress up bin for DGD, and the rest is damaged and will go.

Hurricane supplies are starting to fill in. I got a couple more flashlights/lanterns and some medical and personal stuff. I need to get a little more food now. And, keep the supply of water replenished. I am trying to only buy stuff that will be used up in the next part of the year. That way, the cost doesn't drive me crazy.

I have decided to think of the debt as a decluttering project. It's not just dollars...but stuff and junk that I don't need. And, it needs to quit cluttering up my life and go......

Excavating.....

June 24th, 2008 at 02:40 pm

Like DisneySteve and Creditcardfree and probably several others this time of year, I have been decluttering. It's been made a whole lot easier with the new meds. I can concentrate for longer periods of time, and I can make up my mind faster. So, along with stuff that is making its way out of the house, stuff is being found. Even if the stuff doesn't cost that much, I'm probably saving a bit in gasoline usage.

I found a picture frame that was perfect for a picture that DS and DIL gave me a couple of years ago. Their frame and glass had gotten broken. I took care of that last night. About time. Sheesh.

I found more computer paper of the variety I like. It was buried in one of those drawer bin things with a bunch of paper the kids used to use for school printed projects. The paper will be used. The bin is empty for another use.

I found some old CD cases that I can use. Must have been left over from another kid school project or music project. And, some software to use for projects. I'll have to check this out and see just what these can do.

Found more file room as I shredded yet more stuff. I had bank statements from a VERY long time ago. Time to let go of the past.

I found my baby mug. Now, that was a surprise. I am putting that into my freezer "locker" for hurricane season. I also found several beautiful vases from my grandmother. I'd forgotten about those.

Found a cassette player. I am going to see if it works and see if the cassettes the kids loved to play in the car still work. Memories. We laughed ourselves silly on long car trips with these. I'll probably store these with the car games they used. I'm not ready to part with everything just yet.

Found some legos that I can't figure out how to put together. Some little doll house. Will probably put them with the bin of millions of those lego things until I find out what the kids want.

Found some kitty toys.

Found some clothes that I can actually still wear and are still cute. Rest are tossed.

Found that I have a ton of packing materials for mailing stuff. Gathered that in one place.

Found that I have WAY too many cookbooks.
I mean, how many crockpot or casserole cookbooks do you need?

I found several empty photo storage boxes. Duh...will be a major project soon.

Found a huge box of stamps and pads that the kids used. Kept the stamps, ditched the pads. Would make cool cards for the Grandkid.

And, that's just getting started. I also found a ton of old stuff related to computers and printers we don't own. Software from 2000. And, full and empty ink boxes from obsolete printers. Good grief. I have a couple of huge bags of things tossed or shredded. I've only made a dent in the stored stuff. I have dug out most of the kitchen. I only have to go through the baking pans. Got a ton of those and need to weed out. I've gotten through most of the clothes. I am working on the old bedding. We only own one bed right now and one sofa bed. So, that's a no brainer. I need to go through all the medical supplies. Right now, if you open the cabinet where they are stored, they fall on you. Not useful there. We have a whole set of supplies with the hurricane stuff, so I need to weed out. Something else is the whole cabinet shelf full of shoe stuff--sprays, cleaners, cloths, etc. We have them for boots and shoes and sneakers. What we don't have is the ability to remember they are there and use them. Most have probably broken down into an evil state of existence and need to be tossed out anyway. What a waste that is. I'll keep the best ones and put them where we can remember them if we need them. Hubby tossed a ton of old schoolbooks from long gone college days. We even tossed some old Christmas music we found.

I am going to go through books and kid toys last. Those will be the hardest to go through. I'll probably be at this the whole summer if not longer. I hope to never get this much stuff in my life again......

Migration.....

June 22nd, 2008 at 06:13 pm

Our suitcases migrate. Usually to the kids' homes. We used to have a red set. Really easy to see on a baggage thingy. Slowly, the pieces migrated to DS's home. Since he didn't get to come home often, that was a puzzle. But, he traveled quite a bit with school and music. I don't think he has them any more. DS and DIL have bought a set together. We recently donated the last little one of that set to Goodwill.

We bought a green set. In decluttering the office closet, I found that we are missing the big piece. Hmmmm. Oh yeah, DD used it for a trip this past December. I guess she still has it. I found that we had one actual suitcase. Three smaller travel overnight sized bags. A whole slew of makeup bags. Guess I never found one I liked. Most couldn't hold much anyway. I donated most of those. Kept one or two larger ones to see if I'll use them. If not, out they will go. I found three large duffles. We kept two strong ones. Other one goes. I found three backpacks from the kids' school days. I had gotten rid of a couple already. How many had we held onto? I kept the two expensive sturdy ones and tossed the third. Had only one hanging bag left. That's good enough. Two sport totes went back to the beach/towel/watershoes area. How did they migrate to this closet? I managed to get most of them, except for the suitcase itself, onto the first shelf. Awesome! I can even see the floor of the closet. But, before I tease the heck out of the kids for stealing our suitcases, I better realize that I found a tote that belongs to my mom from a trip home a couple of years ago. Oops...

Stoned.....

June 18th, 2008 at 05:48 pm

I just called into the vet and the tests show that Older Dog has stones again. I am meeting with the vet this afternoon after my dentist/cleaning appointment to see what the prognosis is. Talk about a fun afternoon. I really hope these stones are smaller ones that can be dissolved with medication, because I don't think we can afford another major doggie surgery at this time. The last one years ago was a bit of a bite, and with DD and Hubby both still paying medical bills, I'm not sure we can add a doggie surgery. We just had a lump removed and other stuff a week or so ago. It was about 400 dollars for that one which wasn't really bad. But, the stone surgery last time was pretty expensive. I don't want her hurting or in any misery though. I really don't know what I'll have to decide. I guess we'll find out this afternoon.

Hubby and I went to the store and stocked up on more hurricane supplies. It always happens that you think of more after you get home. I used to have a master checklist, but somehow that wandered off into no man's land. I thought of replacing defunct flashlights when the electricity went off for an hour last night after a storm. I had two functioning flashlights that I knew of. I have no idea where the big lantern went after Rita. Hubby had taken it off to another city when he was working on rebuilding. It probably never made it home. Need to replace fire extinquishers, too.

We were so hot and tired after the trip out that we decided to splurge and buy a monster homemade hamburger at a mom and pop cafe. We would split the 7 dollar meal, so it wasn't so bad. But, the cafe has changed its hours and no longer serves dinner during the week. So, we hit the freezer again and saved dinner money. Seven dollars is seven dollars.

I don't think I'll have to pay anything for this teeth cleaning. But, I tease them they poke holes in my teeth every time. There is always a filling that needs to be replaced with something else. Or something going wrong. No matter what I do. So, I am resigned to being told something else has been going south. I am hopeful that they won't find anything for once, and that the vet thinks we can do this without major stuff. That would be a nice ending to this day......

Silent Revenge or...Pooped On...

June 17th, 2008 at 05:01 pm

Ordinarily, the winged friends in our front tree just screech and fly at us when the eggs hatch. I've been seeing shells in the yard and the driveway, so I figured that our buddies are back. But, I haven't heard a "peep" from them yet. Until the other day. MIL and FIL were getting ready to hop in their rental car to drive to Big City to catch a flight homeward. We were saundering up the brick sidewalk, saying our goodbyes, when one of our hidden critters pooped on Grandma. This has happened to her before when she has visited us. The last time was on a ferry ride, and a gull pooped in her hair. Fortunately, it was on her shirt front, and she had a spare. So, back in the house we went to change Grandma and wash out her duds. Repack and ready to go. I honesly don't believe I laughed until they left. I went after that to get some extra dogfood for hurricane supplies and told the gals what had happened. They hinted that I wished for something to happen to MIL. Naw, not really. We have a relationship in progress and try to overlook those things that are frustrating in each of us. But, I have to admit, it is really funny to me. Not too many people have a bird that sends a farewell like that to inlaws. Sigh, I'm an inlaw myself now, so I should cultivate good karma and not enjoy this so much. I guess you'd have to be there. Grandma is very neat and pressed and birds continuing to poop on the poor lady is just too weird.

Speaking of hurricane preparation, I am spending money getting ready. Today's expenses will include kitty food and litter. But, to offset that expense, we are also eating everything out of the freezers so we do not go through the freezer cleanup again. That saves us food money and makes for some interesting meals.....

Gone With The Wind.....

June 13th, 2008 at 02:10 pm

We got our state windstorm insurance coverage renewal yesterday. It's gone up another 100 dollars or so. A few surcharges, and I realized that I don't have the deductibles in an account. I DO have the insurance cost this year saved, but next year will be fun. It was much easier this year since I got a large refund on my homeowners when they dropped the windstorm, and I just dropped it into an account. But next year I will have to save up. To the tune of about 1200 dollars. On top of all the regular insurance. Let's see. Household insurance is about the same amount. Plus flood insurance. Glad I really do like my company and its agents. Because we're paying a bunch for the good service. I need to set up a plan for getting that premium back into the coffers. And figure out about the deductibles. They run another several thousand if the whole thing plus contents were wiped out. Regular insurance goes into escrow. Flood insurance is paid during the summer, also. I usually don't have too much trouble with the flood insurance premium. It runs about 400 dollars. I try to have that ready early. Once, I saw a guy with a head tall yardstick in our town showing how high the waters would get during a really big hurricane. Just a handful of inches. Not really bad. But, if you consider the woman I met that had only 2 inches in her house, but her walls all molded before she could get back in and she had to gut the whole thing....definitely going to keep the flood stuff. It's just a fact of life. This area keeps the gasoline and chemicals flowing into other parts of the country, so we're needed. I did have to wonder once just why on earth did they put everything in harm's way. Convenience, eons ago. Too costly to move things now. Eventually, we'll move out of range before the companies do.

Insurance on older homes is getting harder and harder to sort out. I wrestle with this a lot. I am glad I can bombard my people with questions, and that they take the time to figure it out for me. I need to take a more proactive stance on this and quit bemoaning it all. It is a tough thing sometimes when I realize that all my relatives in other areas of the country pay a small percentage of the whole insurance package we pay. And, if we have another storm in a year or two, we might be in a world of hurt trying to keep insurance. I need to realize that this is a bigger issue in our little world and concentrate on making it a priority. And saving and saving and saving. We need to have a Hurricane Fund set up for all this outflow. And, for the cost of supplies, and for living expenses. And for deductibles. At least, we are able to prepare and actually see the storms coming unlike the poor folks in the midwest and all that get the tornados so much. We can run ahead of the wind....

The Fur is Flying.....

June 10th, 2008 at 05:40 pm

Poor puppy. Her operation went well, but we opted not to have the lump biopsied. At her age, any intensive treatment would probably be futile and distressing. We'll just keep her as comfortable as we can. It was much larger than we thought and a half-shaved pooch looks kinda funny. The lump was on her back. Of course, she doesn't have a lot of hair left anyway, so I think that I'll just shave her on down and give her a whole new look. She has contracted a bladder infection and piddles while she walks. We're treating with antibiotics which of course causes other problems. This week is going to be VERY interesting. Hopefully, there aren't any stones like last time. That is another surgery, and frankly, I don't know if we can afford that right now. But, I don't want her hurting. Right now, she doesn't seem too affected. She's a happy camper so far.

Big family event went well, and we still have relatives about. I am still trying to get dosages of meds adjusted and various side affects accustomed to and it is playing havoc with my life right now. Today, I'm trying to just chill by myself to get balanced a bit.

The bank balances have been clobbered by all the large things going on. DD had to have an MRI yesterday which is a good thing, but hit the pocketbook again. We've all had the medical funds going nuts this year. The MRI is one of those things that you hope they find out what is causing headaches, but you hope they don't find anything. I can't figure out what I am waiting to hear. I am hoping that they are eliminating one more test so that they can decide on a course of treatment. I was with her this weekend, and it reinforced how bad she can feel quite often. We really need to find something that works.

After the dust settles, I am going to try to get back to a payoff plan. Things have gone so haywire with the finances. I have cut costs in other places in order to account for more gas costs. With a budget to tinker with, that wasn't as hard to do. But, the costs on most of my bills have gone up. I also spent some money finishing up organizing Hubby's office here at home. I bought everything on sale with careful consideration, but I am not sure it was the right time to do it. At any rate, he has a place to call his own. The only other place that is truly his is the work space in half of the garage and his comfy chair in the living room. I really need to replace the chair, but that's another story....

Bookworm....

June 4th, 2008 at 01:22 am

As a kid, I dreamed of owning a ton of my very own books. I spent this last weekend sorting boxes of books and moving them out of the "office" area. My conclusion is that my dream came true in spades. And that I am a book nut. I stacked the boxes in the cat's room to re-sort again and cull some more. Poor kitty now has a mountain of various stacks of boxes to climb. She probably feels a little hemmed in. So do I. It's a little like cleaning out your closet. You find you don't really need much more of the things in there because you've got a ton you didn't realize you had.

I've also found a whole container full of decorating style magazines. SIL advised looking through mags to find out what kinds of things I would like to do to the house. Of course, she actually does the looking. I just got the mags from the library giveaway, etc., and left them in a container. Not much help there. I am chucking those out because I'm obviously not taking her good advice. These things are ancient now.

Gave some dishes away to DS and DIL that match some they have. Freed up some cabinet space that I promptly filled with dishes that I had received for a present. Nice to have a change. Can't believe it took me so long to change it around. I think I got the new dishes...oh...say eight months ago?

Starting to eat out of the freezer again. Need to free up the deep freeze to use as a "locker" again for hurricane season. Things we can't evacuate with us, but that we don't want to have blown away, we put in there to store. Sentimental things. It also keeps us from spending as much on food for awhile.

Old doggie goes to the vet for surgery this week. I've been putting off a growth removal for awhile. But, she is beginning to find the thing irritating, and I'm afraid she's going to scratch it badly and get it infected. The whole surgery including teeth extraction and stuff is going to cost about 400 dollars. Ouch. But, she'll feel better, and I'll feel better that it's finally done. Hopefully, only the pocketbook will feel the pain.

The university has messed up DD's summer program. She's going toe to toe with them to straighten it out. I'm proud of her, but it's draining. And, I'm not sure just what we paid for now. I'm letting her handle it. I'm just being a cheerleader on this one.

I get to talk to the meds doc tomorrow and see what we are doing about the meds dosages. So far, so good. I have some questions though. Well, if he's a little busy and behind tomorrow, I've definitely got a book to take to read....

Where Does This Stuff Come From.....

June 3rd, 2008 at 01:09 am

I have been going through files and culling and repacking for hurricane season. And shredding. And shredding. Since I do this every year, I keep wondering where does all this paper come from? I overheated the shredder twice. I thought I had streamlined the whole paper keeping system, but evidently not. I mean, we have to carry four different insurance policies on the house alone. Oh well, there is always next year.

I've been working to get things organized for Hubby to have a cleaned out office room. Not an easy task for someone who can't stay on target very well. I've been taking my new meds every day, but one pill is somewhat helpful and two is manic time. I have the option of an in between dose, and when I see the meds doc again, I'll go for that and see what happens. Means another co-pay or two. Fortunately, the insurance company and Hubby's surgeon finally had a meeting of the minds, and we don't have a whole lot of medical bills for that to finish paying. But, a major family event is coming up, and I've been spending money like water getting things ready. Or maybe it is the manic talking. At any rate, I need to lock up the bank card or something. Or flatten my tires so I can't go anywhere.

In the what the heck category, we stopped this weekend at our favorite salad place. In order to save money, I suggested we buy the combo little pizza and salad dinner and split it since Hubby wanted a salad and I secretly had a hankering for pizza. But, after I told him that Hubby decided he wanted a pizza, too. We get inside and can't find the ole mini pizzas on the menu. The girl suggested we get the kid's meal which still has the mini pizzas and a salad and a drink. Huh? For three dollars less than two salad bars, we got two pizzas, two salad bars, and two drinks. We brought it all home and had salads for dinner and pizzas for dinner the next night. For about 2 dollars apiece a meal. Wow, we are going to do that again.

Another what the heck was our old cell phone bill. I had to transfer to DD's provider after her medical stuff caused her to have a 300 dollar bill one month because of needing to talk with us often about tests and things. Now, we are free to talk all we need to. I got the final bill for the old phone. Hubby had an add on phoneline on it for 10 dollars a month, but he hadn't used it since his work gave him his blackberry. After the contract gave out, I was just lazy about it because I would have to sign up for another two years or something if I changed it. I transferred my main number to my new service and figured the add on would be cancelled because the main one was gone. Not. They charged me ONLY for the add on line. Now, that is just crazy. I could have let my main contract run out and instead of paying 50 dollars or whatever for it, I could have just paid 10 a month for the add on only and used the whole minutes? That doesn't make sense. A glitch in their system no doubt. Guess they hope people don't catch on to that one. Might only work for a month or so til they figure it out. At any rate, I'll pay the 10 bucks for last month, and the service is cancelled for good. Weird....